Of all the countries I’ve been blessed to visit, there are few that I fall in love with time and time again. The beauty of South Africa is undeniable, and superstar cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town are a must during any visit. From gorgeous landscapes and majestic wildlife to laid back vibes and friendly locals, South Africa has everything you’re looking for in a luxe destination. Especially luxury hotels! Don’t let the media fool you, South Africa is not all poverty and despair (though it does exist). If you’re looking to experience luxe African style, these hotels should be at the top of your wish list.
Safaris, Soweto, Mandela…oh my! That’s usually all people know about travel to Johannesburg and South Africa in general, but the country is more than animals and its tumultuous past. Voted the World’s Leading Boutique Hotel since 2001, the Saxon, located in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of Sandhurst, was originally a private home belonging to a close friend of Nelson Mandela, Douw Steyn. The hotel is truly the ultimate luxurious destination, and combines the finest in culinary, accommodation and cultural experiences. From the art on wall to the exceptional staff that goes above and beyond to exceed your every need, the sights and sounds of the Saxon capture you from the minute you walk through its doors. With 25 suites, 3 villas, 6 pools, tennis court, cigar lounge and a signature spa, the Saxon is an adult paradise. If you should find a reason to want to leave the grounds, head into the city on the weekend to hit Market on Main or Fourways Farmers Market for great eats, shopping and people watching.
Elevated on a hillside with panoramic views, the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff is a chic urban resort that features 117 luxury guest rooms and suites, five dining venues for a vibrant social scene, a brand-new spa, two swimming pools and nearby golf course. Guests can easily access the best the city has to offer including the Maboneng and Braamfontein precincts, Soweto, Lion Park, the Apartheid Museum, the Johannesburg Zoo, winery tours and more. Truly an oasis in the middle of a bustling and eclectic city.
When it comes to luxury, no place does it like the One&Only Cape Town, one of my absolute favorite resorts in the city. One&Only Cape Town boasts the ultimate city setting, nestled a short walk from the trendy Victoria & Alfred Waterfront district, near the best nightlife, entertainment and shopping, yet somehow managing to still be remote. It is a stunning self-contained oasis that features both the main hotel, comprising of 131 rooms, and a separate, private island resort featuring 40 villa suites, surrounded by a man-made marina. The property also features a 350-square-meter free-form, heated infinity-edge pool, complimentary wi-fi Charlotte Rhys bath products for use in the large soaking tub and 24-hour butler service. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Nestled in the wonders of South Africa’s Mother City, The Silo Cape Town is a new luxury boutique property that recently opened along the city’s V&A Waterfront this month. The Silo features 28 rooms and suites across six floors, a rooftop Champagne bar, a spa, glass pool with views of Table Mountain, fine dining and even a piano bar. The Silo also the perfect place to relax after a day of penguin spotting at Boulder Beach, historical reflection at Robben Island, wine tasting in Stellenbosch or partying on Long Street.
If you’re like me you love and live a good beach. In Cape Town, the place to stay for a stunning beach views is a fresh, boutique luxe hotel known simply as The Marly. Located in Camps Bay, under the Twelve Apostles mountain range, The Marly is a chic hotel on the trendy Atlantic Seaboard. Sidewalk cafes, bars and a casual, relaxed atmosphere make a stay here beach bums, and those seeking fun filled nightlife. The hotel features 11 suites with a contemporary ambience that will remind you of Miami, uninterrupted picturesque ocean and mountain views, private pool-terrace bar and courtyard, 24-hour room service and, my favorite amenity, bath butler service.